The Story of Highway 22

“Back in the 1800’s sometime in the Indian war days, when they were still on horseback, the Stoney tribes followed the buffalo on the prairie grass. These tribes, they were a family of 22. They traveled from Montana to the Rocky Mountain House. While they traveled through the coulees, they tried to avoid the soldiers or blue coats. At the same time they traveled this area of the foothills in Alberta, a North West Mounted Police scout was looking on the high range. He saw this tribe coming with their travois. He counted many of them. He thought there must be 22 families traveling together following the buffalo.

Sometimes they traveled over night to get to the Cochrane and Morley area. They were headed to Rocky Mountain House. As they traveled the Chief sent warriors ahead to kill the buffalo on the jumps. Sometimes it took a couple days. When they came to the encampment the Chief sent his warriors to gather the buffalo at the jumping site. All the families followed the day after to the kill site. Families gathered together to put up their tipis near the kill site. The families would be happy, cheering. The mothers and the children gathered wood and set up their tripod to smoke the meat right away so the meat wouldn’t spoil in the hot summer sun. They used the whole buffalo for food and tools and the hide for the coming winter. The bladder was used to carry water to drink from. The encampment was quite a site to see with the Stoney families of 22. They always traveled through this area of the foothills. When leaves turned orange and yellowish colours they headed back down south and north when the snow melted. And that’s how Highway 22 got its name.”

Stoney Legend told by Allie Lefthand

Submitted by Longview Library